On March 22, Scholastic ceased distribution of a Captain Underpants book that the publisher says “perpetuates passive racism.” Released in 2010, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future includes a martial-arts instructor called Master Wong, who teaches the book’s heroes kung fu. Series creator Dav Pilkey explained the decision to pull the graphic novel in an apology on YouTube. The author and illustrator said the book was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and nonviolent conflict resolution, but includes stereotypes and passively racist imagery. “I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this,” he wrote. “It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.”
Pilkey added in his statement that he will donate his advance and royalties from the book to charity, including groups that work to combat Asian hate and diversify children’s books and publishing. Meanwhile, Scholastic is seeking the return of all copies of the title and said it is reaching out to retail partners, schools, and libraries.